​YORUBA POETRY 

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Isé ni òògùn ìsé……..work is the antidote for poverty 

Múra sí isé re òréè mi….Work hard, my friend 

Isé ni a fi í di eni giga…..work is used to elevate one in respect and importance  (Aspiring to higher height is fully dependent on hard work) 

Bí a kò bá réni fèyìn tì, Bí òle là á rí;….if we do not have anyone to lean on, we appear indolent 

Bí a ko réni gbékèlé,…if we do not have anyone to trust (we can depend on…)

 À tera mó isé eni…..we simply work harder 

Ìyá re lè lówó lówó…..your mother may be wealthy 

Bàbá sì lè lésin léèkàn…..your father may have a ranch full of horses 

Bí o bá gbójú lé won,…….. if you depend on their riches alone 

O té tán ni mo so fún o,……you may end up in disgrace, I tell you 

Ohun tí a kò ba jìyà fún,…..whatever gain one does not work hard to earn. 

Kì í lè tójó…..usually does not last 

Ohun tí a bá fara sisé fún,….whatever gain one works hard to earn 

Ní í pé lówó eni…..is the one that lasts in one’s  hands.(while in ones possession) 

Apá lará, ìgùnpá nìyekan…… the arm is a relative, the elbow is a sibling 

Bí ayé n fé o lónìí,….you may be loved by all today 

Bí o bá lówó lówó,……it is when you have money 

Ni won á máa fé o lóla……that they will love you tomorrow 

Tàbí tí o bá wà ní ipò àtàtà,…..or when you are in a high position 

Ayé á yé o sí tèrín-tèrín,…. .all will honor you with cheers and smiles 

Jé kí o di eni n ráágó,….wait till you become poor or are struggling to get by 

Kí o rí báyé ti í símú sí o……and you will see how all grimace at you as they pass you by 

Èkó sì tún n soni í dògá,…..education also elevates one in position 

Múra kí o kó o dáradára…..work hard to acquire good education 

Bí o sì rí òpò ènìyàn,…..and if you see a lot of people 
Tí wón n fi èkó se èrín rín,….making education a laughing stock 

Dákun má se fara wé won…..please do not emulate or keep their company 

Ìyà n bò fómo tí kò gbón,…..suffering is lying in wait for an unserious kid 

Ekún n be fómo tó n sá kiri…….sorrow is in the reserve for a truant kid 

Má fòwúrò seré, òréè mi,…..do not play with your early years, my friend 

Múra sísé, ojó n lo…..work harder, time and tide wait for no one.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. justvou says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for translating. I’ll like to write a poem in Hausa some day. We need to read or at least see more poems written in Nigerian languages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Auora says:

      It is an evergreen Nigerian poem I learnt long ago. I hope to see your poem when you write it. But I didn’t write this one it’s been on for generations. Thanks for the lovely comment

      Liked by 1 person

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